Hezbollah leader discloses secret negotiations with US in early 2000s

Hezbollah leader discloses secret negotiations with US in early 2000s
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In an interview made public for the first time, Hasan Nasrallah says the US offered to remove Hezbollah from the "terror list" in exchange for its neutrality in Arab-Israeli conflict.

A documentary series aired by Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen channel has brought to light negotiation attempts by the United States with Hezbollah in early 2000s, Iranian Fars News Agency reported Saturday.

The series "40 and Beyond," aired on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Hezbollah, includes an unpublished interview with the movement's leader Hasan Nasrallah by Ghassan Ben Jeddou, the current CEO of Al-Mayadeen.

In the third episode of the series, Nasrallah says that the US made several offers including removal of Hezbollah from its "terror list" in return for Hezbollah remaining neutral in conflicts with Israel, and abandoning its military and financial support for the Palestinian Uprising (Intifada).

Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia Islamist political party with an armed wing, has been designated a "terrorist group" by the US since 1997. It played a crucial part through a fierce resistance to end the Israeli occupation in Lebanon, and currently has a remarkable political and military presence in this country.

Nasrallah told Al-Mayadeen that what the US offered after Israeli forces were forced to withdraw from occupied Lebanese territories in 2000 included:

- Removing Hezbollah from the 'terror list'

- Working out a solution about the issue of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli prisons

- Recognition of Hezbollah's political role and inclusion of Hezbollah in the Lebanese government

- Providing significant financial aid to rebuild the liberated areas in Lebanon

These offers, Nasrallah said, were rejected by Hezbollah because the movement sought to help the Palestinians and considered Israel a permanent threat to Lebanon's security.